More help for lower-income Chas patients with new scheme by Sata CommHealth

The Pioneer Generation cards with an information booklet on the Pioneer Generation Package.
The Pioneer Generation cards with an information booklet on the Pioneer Generation Package.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - Lower-income patients will get more help to foot their bills at five of non-profit healthcare provider Sata CommHealth's medical centres from Thursday (June 1).

The new subsidy scheme, named Sata Cares, will provide subsidies of up to $60 to patients who hold blue cards under the Community Health Assist Scheme (Chas). This means that on top of the subsidies provided by the government, these patients will pay even less with Sata's help.

For example, blue-card holders being treated for acute conditions can already receive Chas subsidies of up to $18.50. Sata will now provide another subsidy capped at $5, so the maximum reduction of the bill could be $23.50.

The scheme will run for six months as a pilot, and will be assessed and refined at the end of the year, said Sata CommHealth chief executive K. Thomas Abraham.

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Pioneers and lower-income people receive government subsidies at around 950 general practitioner (GP) and 700 dental clinics under Chas.

Around 550,000 people - who have a household monthly income of $1,100 and below per person - hold the Chas blue card. Sata had around 1,000 visits from such patients in 2016.

The Sata scheme offers different quantums of subsidy for different patient groups. Those being treated for one chronic condition can receive at most $10, in addition to a maximum of $80 from Chas. Meanwhile, Sata provides a subsidy of up to $60 for patients with two or more chronic conditions. This comes on top of the $120 cap that Chas pays for patients in this category, who tend to rack up higher medical bills.

Chairman of Sata Commhealth Ang Hao Yao said: "By further reducing the out-of-pocket expenses for our patients who hold the Chas blue card, we hope to help those from lower income households to reduce healthcare costs, especially for those with chronic diseases, to better manage their health."

Patients can sign up for the scheme at Sata Commhealth's medical centres in Ang Mo Kio, Jurong, Tanjong Pagar, Uttamram and Woodlands. Approved beneficiaries will be issued a card for ease of identification when they visit medical centres.